Would it have been better if Pearl Jam had not gotten so HUGE?

brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 26,917
edited January 20 in The Porch
I know, some of you are thinking, blasphemy!  But hear me out (and then bang me on the head with the tambourine.)

I was thinking about this today while watching some select cuts fro the DVD's "Touring Band" and "Live at the Show Box".  Years back, I thought "Touring Band" was the greatest and "Show Box" merely very good.  Now I think the opposite.  There was fire at that show.  Look at Mike slam that Tele on the floor at the end of "Save You".  Those guys were kicking ass there. 

I've only seen PJ once- in 2012, Missoula, MT at the relatively smaller Adams center.  Damn, what a show!  Would I have said that if I saw them  in some stadium?  Me?  Hell no.  My personal preference is smaller venues.  Better sound, more intimate, closer experience.  At the Adams Center I was fairly far back in the balcony but still had a good sense of the player's movements, facial expression, etc.  Those are the things that add value to a performance.  You don't get that sitting 450 feet from a stage.

But let's not stop there.  What about other aspects of a long standing band.  The word that comes to mind is "hungry".  It is very hard for a well established band with great longevity to remain hungry. How many pull it off?  Neil Young, certainly- at least occasionally has. 

But it's usually the lesser giants who keep cranking it out: 

Dinosaur Jr- one of the reasons they are a favorite of mine is they still kick like Kato. Never made it HUGE, but they are giants to many.
Juliana Hatfield.  She's been at it  since the Blake Babies started up in '86.   Her new album, Weird, is hot
Mission of Burma.  Those guys started clear back in '79, have created some amazing work and yet never made it big.  Yet they're still at it, with no compromises. 

And so forth.  

So the question came to my mind- Would it have been better if Pearl Jam to had not gotten so HUGE?  I think so.  I'll bet some of the guys in the band might even agree.  Maybe not.  I might be full of crap.  You tell me!
“Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.”
-Terry Tempest Williams
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Comments

  • lastexitlondonlastexitlondon Posts: 4,082
    I'm with you. For me the business machine took over. It's not for me the new way. With flipping. Merch addiction and massive venues. You may say that's progress and modern way but I loved before when you could just walk up buy a show poster or shirt for yourself not to fund a trip /tour.
    Small venues always win. But not financially
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  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 26,917
    I'm with you. For me the business machine took over. It's not for me the new way. With flipping. Merch addiction and massive venues. You may say that's progress and modern way but I loved before when you could just walk up buy a show poster or shirt for yourself not to fund a trip /tour.
    Small venues always win. But not financially
    Yes, indeed.  Now, from what I hear, you have to stand in line for a long, long time and hope the flippers haven't bought up all the posters and t-shirts. 

    I know for smaller bands, working low paying gigs night after night for years it's a tough go and I don't blame a band for wanting to make a decent living for their hard work, but the divide is huge.  We often hear about the have's and have-nots in America and elsewhere but in the music world, the divide is even bigger.  It's mostly the super stars and the struggling artists.  Unless they're only in it for money and personal glory, the luckiest of all I would think are the bands that fall in between to where they aren't worked to death but can still fill a good sized club up to a medium sized venue, say 500 to 4 or 5,000 max and get paid a decent wage. 

    But how much say does the band have?  Ed said something about how great it was for them to get to play in a smaller venue when they did Austin City Limits.  I wonder if he and the other guys wish they could always play gigs that size?  Like that last Neil Young Crazy Horse mini tour- wasn't that theater sized gigs?  Nice!
    “Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.”
    -Terry Tempest Williams
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.






  • mrk2mrk2 FinlandPosts: 1,231
    Looking at the comment section of their social media posts, yes.
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  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,306
    Pearl Jam has been an arena band since 1995.  Even with the sporadic touring that year and 1996 they were selling out sheds and such, places with capacity of 15-18K with ease.

    The Merch thing is on the fans.  Some of us clamour for it (don't know why - if it is particularly good show shirt or poster, sure, but the insane get everything, not my tea).

    They play one mini tour of stadiums only and suddenly many of us are convinced this is how it is.  

    In terms of the experience, sure, yes, I can't lie about that, but it goes for arenas as well.  When I have good seats it comes off as a better more pleasing concert experience to me.  So, you know Fenway 2 2016 it was one of the better concerts at all that I have been too.  It was the best "sound" set up I had witnessed at a PJ show.  And then again their was some recency effect.  I went to the bulk of my shows from 1996 thru 2005.  That is just the way life and their touring schedule and city choices worked for me.  From 2006 through 2013 I saw only 3 shows.  So in 2016 was at the Philly 2 show and had meh seats in the 100s, enjoyed it, but they pack you in their and it is not a great place to see a concert from most sections.  Fenway 2 was A5 row 13, this was most of my shows from 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2006, generally in rows 6-15.  Now if I was in the upper deck would it have been as enjoyable for me?  probably not, because once you taste the experience that keeps you as close as a small club or theater, you don't really want to leave that. I was in B7 this year and it was not quite the same experience.  And those are still very good seats.

    In short, they are huge, nothing is going to change that, and I doubt they will only play baseball stadiums, because it is totally impractical to schedule a tour that way. 
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  • Yea. I was gonna write that they probably wouldn't still be around if they took a much less commercial (come on . . . all the baseball phooey really rubbed me the wrong way - as a recent example) success, but maybe they would? They proved at the start that they can create enduring music and awesome live performances which surely (and don't call me Shirley) would have propelled them through the years with a smaller fan base/less popular approach. But is it even possible to force away the spotlight when you have as many initial fans as they had? I'm getting away from the posters question of "would it have been better . . .". I think if they didn't have any pressure of maintaining/feeding the beast they've become, their creativity would be coming from a more open place. They can still do whatever they want so maybe they will trim the fat. I'm excited for the upcoming record. The length of time it's been means good things. 
  • RYMERYME Wisconsin Posts: 1,359
    edited January 21
    I, like most everyone else here, have literally grown up with this band.
    I'm 41.  I think several leg, modest-sized tours would be the way to go.  Space the dates out mabey 2 night stands, Friday night & Saturday night. 
    Let's face it the way they've been doing it lately, Saturday night and Monday night is very very difficult for most of us in the real world 🌎 to hang around and take a week of vacation and stay in expensive hotels for 3 nights.
    I think they snubbed alot of United States fans by doing 7 massive shows in 4 locations last year.  Very selfish and short-sighted on ther'e part if you ask me.
    Amphitheatre Theatre/ Arena tours are deffinatly the way to go, they could space 30 shows out over 3 months so that they don't get burned out on a huge tour.   that's working 10 days a month for 3 months.  We would all have a much better shot at 10c tickets at the places we want to watch more localized.  NOT BALLPARKS!
    I went to one of those at Wrigley 16, the setlist was nice, but I was a mile from the stage even with fan club tickets, watched the jumbo screens most of the show.  I'm not doing that again.  Metallica is still playing arenas, Hootie and the Blowfish are touring this year a bunch of amphitheaters.  Hollywood Bowl, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Alpine Valley, Noblesville Indiana,  The Who are going that route this time around.
    Pearl Jam should get back to doing what made them great.
    Gotten to big?  I seriously think the egos got too big, bigger than the band.  That's the problem. 
    Yes the whole buy & flip thing has gotten out of control.  (Some people come just to do that not even giving a crap about watching show,,,they not there for the show, they are there to do business buy up everything and resell it all for $×4)  I went to Dead & Co last year, didn't see any of that.  I only had to waite in line less than 10 min at the merch booth.   There was plenty of stuff for everybody, nobody was buying boatloads of shit.
    The question is has Pearl Jam gotten too big??
    I don't know what the answer is, but something has definitely gone awry.
    Post edited by RYME on
  • KN219077KN219077 MontanaPosts: 367
    High five, Missoula 12 was my first show too, hell of a first show! The crowd was so in tune with the band. Fast forward to 2018, same town , big stadium, I enjoyed the show alot, mostly because they played alot of my favorites and I was about 30 ft from the stage, but there’s no denying the show felt way different, that Adam’s Center crowd was twice the power of griz stadium with over twice as many people. I think the band was feeling it and that’s why they dubbed it an instant classic.
  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 18,626
     I wonder why pearl jam got so big again.  2003-2011 you could easily get tickets to pretty much every show no problem.  No I'm not saying that you could get front row but outside the big markets shows didn't really sell out.  Even in 2013 both philly shows were not sold out.  Then all of a sudden, wham!  PJ gets huge again for some reason.  Selling out wrigley and safeco....mind boggling.
    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • eeriepadaveeeriepadave West Chester, PAPosts: 30,523
    mcgruff10 said:
     I wonder why pearl jam got so big again.  2003-2011 you could easily get tickets to pretty much every show no problem.  No I'm not saying that you could get front row but outside the big markets shows didn't really sell out.  Even in 2013 both philly shows were not sold out.  Then all of a sudden, wham!  PJ gets huge again for some reason.  Selling out wrigley and safeco....mind boggling.
    Both Philly 2013 show not sold out? then explain this?
    Image result for pearl jam philadelphia banner

    bf959b1f-9b77-457c-baf8-038776f33339_zps8a6a389d.jpg?t=1365722973
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    10/31/09- Philly
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  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 18,626
    mcgruff10 said:
     I wonder why pearl jam got so big again.  2003-2011 you could easily get tickets to pretty much every show no problem.  No I'm not saying that you could get front row but outside the big markets shows didn't really sell out.  Even in 2013 both philly shows were not sold out.  Then all of a sudden, wham!  PJ gets huge again for some reason.  Selling out wrigley and safeco....mind boggling.
    Both Philly 2013 show not sold out? then explain this?
    Image result for pearl jam philadelphia banner

    They definitely were not sold out.  There were uppers available for both shows on their ticket site.
    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 18,626
    https://blogs.mcall.com/lehighvalleymusic/2013/10/pearl-jam-at-wells-fargo-center-is-more-than-just-alive-its-still-vital-.html

    “Nice place you got here,” Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder told the near-capacity crowd at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday, playing the venue for the first time to start a two-night stay.

     “You were probably there when we tore down The Spectrum. F—k it, let’s tear this one down, too. Slowly, piece by piece. I say we pace ourselves and have a nice, long evening.”

    I guess you can get creative with the world "sold out".  I know there were tickets available on the site up to the day of the show.  I'm not saying the place was empty but it was definitely not sold out as in every ticket sold.  

    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • KN219077KN219077 MontanaPosts: 367
    PJ isn’t more popular now, not by a long shot. They’re playing 7 shows in the US...it’s easy to draw all the fans in to guarantee a sell out that way. If they threw up 25 dates there would be plenty of tickets. 
  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 18,626
    KN219077 said:
    PJ isn’t more popular now, not by a long shot. They’re playing 7 shows in the US...it’s easy to draw all the fans in to guarantee a sell out that way. If they threw up 25 dates there would be plenty of tickets. 
    I disagree, the 2016 tour sold out pretty damn quick. Places like South Carolina and Florida were a hard ticket to get. 
    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 21,073
    The band could of been way bigger it would of been easy for them to just go for the $ in the beginning , but they chose not to ..
    i cant fault them for the route they are on now they gave us plenty of great experiences I’ve been lucky to attend a whole bunch of great shows from up close ..
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  • bootlegger10bootlegger10 Posts: 11,438
    edited January 20
    2010 St. Louis upper deck had portions closed off opposite the stage.  2014 St. Louis was full even behind the stage.  There was a big change.  More press for Lightning Bolt and a better economy probably played a large role.
    Post edited by bootlegger10 on
  • eeriepadaveeeriepadave West Chester, PAPosts: 30,523
    mcgruff10 said:
    https://blogs.mcall.com/lehighvalleymusic/2013/10/pearl-jam-at-wells-fargo-center-is-more-than-just-alive-its-still-vital-.html

    “Nice place you got here,” Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder told the near-capacity crowd at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday, playing the venue for the first time to start a two-night stay.

     “You were probably there when we tore down The Spectrum. F—k it, let’s tear this one down, too. Slowly, piece by piece. I say we pace ourselves and have a nice, long evening.”

    I guess you can get creative with the world "sold out".  I know there were tickets available on the site up to the day of the show.  I'm not saying the place was empty but it was definitely not sold out as in every ticket sold.  

    Well if that's the case i doubt any show is really sold out. I'm pretty sure all the tickets were sold out but i do remember seeing empty seats (maybe people couldn't make it).  Oh well...
    bf959b1f-9b77-457c-baf8-038776f33339_zps8a6a389d.jpg?t=1365722973
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    10/31/09- Philly
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    7/19/13- Wrigley
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  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 18,626
    2010 St. Louis upper deck had portions closed off opposite the stage.  2014 St. Louis was even behind the stage.  There was a big change.  More press for Lightning Bolt and a better economy probably played a large role.
    Great example.  the 2010 mid west portion of the tour sold pretty bad, Cleveland had huge sections closed off as well.  That st. louis show in 2014 was fun as hell (but damn it was cold out!).

    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • bootlegger10bootlegger10 Posts: 11,438
    I think fans that were 16 back in 1991 are around 45 years old now.  The careers are doing well, the kids are out of school, and more can afford PJ shows and travel. 
  • Spiritual_ChaosSpiritual_Chaos Posts: 12,316
    mcgruff10 said:
    mcgruff10 said:
     I wonder why pearl jam got so big again.  2003-2011 you could easily get tickets to pretty much every show no problem.  No I'm not saying that you could get front row but outside the big markets shows didn't really sell out.  Even in 2013 both philly shows were not sold out.  Then all of a sudden, wham!  PJ gets huge again for some reason.  Selling out wrigley and safeco....mind boggling.
    Both Philly 2013 show not sold out? then explain this?
    Image result for pearl jam philadelphia banner

    They definitely were not sold out.  There were uppers available for both shows on their ticket site.
    And I bought VIP tickets before the sale, because people said international buyers would be fucked by the arenas medieval site.

    Could have scored tickets in the general sale then instead...
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  • ceskaceska New YorkPosts: 787
    "Lesser bands" may still be cranking out new albums... but their new albums are of their own "Lightning Bolt" caliber, not of early years caliber. That goes for plenty of other bands I follow, from PJ contemporaries such as Wilco and Old 97s, to older bands such as Los Lobos and Richard Thompson. They still tour a lot, and they still put out records every couple of years, but they have plateaued for me. Being smaller and "hungrier" doesn't mean that those bands are still making all-time classic albums this late into their careers. So, no, I don't think PJ would necessarily be any different or better f they hadn't "gotten big."

    As for them "getting big again," yes there is the smaller number of shows and the older fan base who can afford to travel, and a new generation of fans too. As for PJ filling up a baseball stadium for a show, why not? People pay much more money to watch sportsball teams fill stadiums on a regular basis, so I can see that people will easily pay +$100/ticket to see PJ in a stadium every couple years.
  • mcgruff10mcgruff10 New JerseyPosts: 18,626
    edited January 20
    mcgruff10 said:
    https://blogs.mcall.com/lehighvalleymusic/2013/10/pearl-jam-at-wells-fargo-center-is-more-than-just-alive-its-still-vital-.html

    “Nice place you got here,” Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder told the near-capacity crowd at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday, playing the venue for the first time to start a two-night stay.

     “You were probably there when we tore down The Spectrum. F—k it, let’s tear this one down, too. Slowly, piece by piece. I say we pace ourselves and have a nice, long evening.”

    I guess you can get creative with the world "sold out".  I know there were tickets available on the site up to the day of the show.  I'm not saying the place was empty but it was definitely not sold out as in every ticket sold.  

    Well if that's the case i doubt any show is really sold out. I'm pretty sure all the tickets were sold out but i do remember seeing empty seats (maybe people couldn't make it).  Oh well...
    I remember when Ralph Nader said “we sold out the garden!!” In 2000 and there were literally thousands of seats unsold to the sides and behind him. I think the terms "sold out" can be used very liberally. 

    Post edited by mcgruff10 on
    I'll ride the wave where it takes me......
  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,306
    mcgruff10 said:
    mcgruff10 said:
     I wonder why pearl jam got so big again.  2003-2011 you could easily get tickets to pretty much every show no problem.  No I'm not saying that you could get front row but outside the big markets shows didn't really sell out.  Even in 2013 both philly shows were not sold out.  Then all of a sudden, wham!  PJ gets huge again for some reason.  Selling out wrigley and safeco....mind boggling.
    Both Philly 2013 show not sold out? then explain this?
    Image result for pearl jam philadelphia banner

    They definitely were not sold out.  There were uppers available for both shows on their ticket site.
    There were empties because flippers were buying tickets and attempting to sell them for ridiculous prices. The market has dramatically changed when the tickets are in the 75+ range, there is an upward limit people are willing to spend. I would never spend a cent over face value for a concert at an arena unless I was in the first 20 rows on the floor now. 
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    1999 - 10/30, 10/31 (left early due to flight grrr)
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    2018 - 9/4

  • PB11041PB11041 EarthPosts: 1,306
    mcgruff10 said:
    KN219077 said:
    PJ isn’t more popular now, not by a long shot. They’re playing 7 shows in the US...it’s easy to draw all the fans in to guarantee a sell out that way. If they threw up 25 dates there would be plenty of tickets. 
    I disagree, the 2016 tour sold out pretty damn quick. Places like South Carolina and Florida were a hard ticket to get. 
    That may have had more to do with not playing in South Carolina for nearly a decade.  And they had pretty much turned away from Florida after the 2004 VFC tour as well, but for that one crappy festival, they played 2 shows in 2008.  Not alot of shows for one of the most populated states.  
    His eminence has yet to show. 
    http://www.hi5sports.org/ (Sports Program for Kids with Disabilities)
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    1996 - 9/21, 9/28, 9/29
    1998 - 5/1, 8/22, 8/25, 8/26, 8/28, 9/8, 9/10, 9/11
    1999 - 10/30, 10/31 (left early due to flight grrr)
    2000 - 4/12, 8/4, 8/6, 8/23, 8/24, 8/25, 8/27
    2003 - 4/28, 4/29, 5/3, 6/29, 7/5, 7/6, 7/8, 7/9, 7/14
    2005 - 9/15, 9/16
    2006 - 5/12
    2008 - 6/25
    2013 - 7/16
    2016 - 4/29, 8/7
    2018 - 9/4

  • Lost In OhioLost In Ohio Posts: 4,862
    edited January 20
    mcgruff10 said:
    2010 St. Louis upper deck had portions closed off opposite the stage.  2014 St. Louis was even behind the stage.  There was a big change.  More press for Lightning Bolt and a better economy probably played a large role.
    Great example.  the 2010 mid west portion of the tour sold pretty bad, Cleveland had huge sections closed off as well.  That st. louis show in 2014 was fun as hell (but damn it was cold out!).



    2010 Columbus had tickets available in the backs of the upper level...like most of entire sections. I went on and bought my 10C ticket with ultimate ease. Of course, everyone and their brother's cousin "needed" NYC tickets.

    Remember that the band had the curtain behind the stage in 2010. Because of this, tickets behind the stage may not have been even made available for many shows that year. I know this was the case for Columbus. Seating was somewhere between 180 and 270 degrees.

    Look at the 2010 tour cities vs the 2014 tour cities. By playing NYC and the northeast in 2010, a lot of people from other countries went there, making cities like Columbus, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Buffalo more easy to get.

    One thing the band should do is announce entire years at once. If they announced Brazilia, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, London, Berlin, Rome, Chicago, Seattle and Boston all on the same day, tickets would be a lot easier to get. Instead, people from Europe panic when the band announces South America and people from the USA panic when they announce Europe because they don't think the band will tour their "home" continent. It's an artificial scarcity and it isn't a good thing. Imagine how hard it would be for someone from Colombia to make travel plans for March all over South America, for July all over Europe and for September all over the USA...all at the same time.


    I think the other thing that happened... somewhere along the way, they went from "one pair of tickets per tour" to "unlimited."
    Post edited by Lost In Ohio on
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  • Lost In OhioLost In Ohio Posts: 4,862
    edited January 20
    This is typical "usher-speak."

    "Sold out" typically means that the entire supply has been depleted from the original source.

    A "full house" means all seats are full.

    If the arena *can* seat 18,000 people but only 15,000 seats are for sale...and all 15,000 tickets are sold, the arena is "sold out." Lots of arenas have "half-house" configurations where the stage is towards the middle of the floor and only about half the arena is used with a large curtain blocking the back...this would be "sold out" but not a "full house" if all available tickets are sold.

    Say there's a situation where a company buys 1,500 tickets out of 18,000 for distribution to customers and clients. If only 500 of those tseats are filled on event day, it's still "sold out" because the tickets were sold.
    Post edited by Lost In Ohio on
    Presidential Advice from President-Elect Mike McCready: "Are you getting something out of this all encompassing trip?"
  • crookedcrosscrookedcross Right Near Da Beach, BoiiiPosts: 986
    edited January 20
    Say there's a situation where a company buys 1,500 tickets out of 18,000 for distribution to customers and clients. If only 500 of those tseats are filled on event day, it's still "sold out" because the tickets were sold.
    This. I used to think sold out means sold out and it's game over.  Then I got introduced to people who are pretty high up the chain at MSG and learned that no show or event is really ever "sold out".  At least not one at an arena or bigger.  Scalpers aside, there are always loosies sprinkled around the arena the day of.  Then there are seats that the venue and its partners hold that a lot of times don't get filled.  After that was explained to me, I've always looked at the phrase "sold out" as somewhat a hype phrase.
    Post edited by crookedcross on
  • mdgsolomdgsolo Posts: 552
    edited January 20

    Juliana Hatfield.  She's been at it  since the Blake Babies started up in '86.   Her new album, Weird, is hot
    Mission of Burma.  Those guys started clear back in '79, have created some amazing work and yet never made it big.  Yet they're still at it, with no compromises. 

    Post edited by mdgsolo on
  • ZodZod Posts: 6,075
    I dunno.  What if because they had stayed small they missed going on our radar?

    I'm not sure being smaller equates to quality.   Sure they need to tour more to make ends meet, but I'm not sure the hungry equates to quality on their studio albums.  Most bands (Big, medium, or small) hit a stage where they're studio output isn't as good as it once was.   It happens to all bands.  

    Luckily being a rock band is about two things.   Recording and performing.  If you struggle with one, you've still got the other.  Especially if you were prolific during your best years, and you've got a big catalog to play from. 

    I had the opposite experience.  I've seen Pearl Jam do a bar show.  The Commodore in Vancouver in 2000.  It was really cool to see them play a 1000ish seater bar, but the show doesn't crack my top 5.   I think the eb and flows of their best shows can be in any venue.   I've seen them do amazing shows in small arenas, festivals, stadiums, and regular sized arenas.   The size of the venue doesn't seem to be the deciding factor in when/how they perform their best gigs.
  • mdgsolomdgsolo Posts: 552
    I've never heard of this 'Pearl Jam' of which you speak, but that latest Juliana Hatfield album is awesome!  Thanks for the heads up
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 26,917
    KN219077 said:
    High five, Missoula 12 was my first show too, hell of a first show! The crowd was so in tune with the band. Fast forward to 2018, same town , big stadium, I enjoyed the show alot, mostly because they played alot of my favorites and I was about 30 ft from the stage, but there’s no denying the show felt way different, that Adam’s Center crowd was twice the power of griz stadium with over twice as many people. I think the band was feeling it and that’s why they dubbed it an instant classic.
    High five back!  Yeah that was an awesome show!  I put it right up there with some of my very favorite shows including Jimi Hendrix- 1968 and 1969, The Who- 1968, The Clash- 1982, U2- 1983,  and Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers- 1986.
    “Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.”
    -Terry Tempest Williams
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.






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